Early Retiree Says These 8 Books Helped Him Save $1 Million and ‘Live an Uncompromisingly Happy Life'

Photo: Steve Adcock

In 2016, I retired early at 35. At the time, I had $900,000 saved, and within a few years was able to accumulate a $1 million net worth.

I wasn't born into money. I didn't run my own business or start side hustles. I climbed the ladder at my 9-to-5 jobs and lived a frugal life. More importantly, I learned how to be successful from reading books about money, careers and personal health.

Here are the books that helped me retire as a millionaire and live an uncompromisingly happy life:

1. "The Millionaire Next Door: Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy"

By Dr. Thomas Stanley

The late Thomas Stanley collected years of data about millionaire lifestyles. He found that they don't all inherit their wealth or own mansions. Instead, they live modestly while accumulating their wealth.

This book was originally published in 1996, but the basic money principles can still be applied today.

2. "The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich"

By David Bach

Millionaires don't spend hours managing their money; they use automated systems that make the wealth-building process easy and repeatable.

From a company-sponsored 401(k) to automatic deposits into a savings account, you'll learn how to turn your financial life into a well-oiled machine.

3. "Brain Makeover: A Weekly Guide to a Happier, Healthier and More Abundant Life"

By Phyllis Ginsberg

Our brain mainly runs on autopilot, but there are ways to retrain your brain for lasting changes that can help you feel happier in just one week.

The book breaks down the components of happiness and stress, then offers weekly exercises to help you build new neural pathways for a more joyful and purposeful life.

4. "Just Keep Buying: Proven Ways to Save Money and Build Your Wealth"

By Nick Maggiulli

Popular finance blogger Nick Maggiulli dives into the two main principles of building wealth — saving and investing — and crunches numbers to give practical advice for any type of investor in any type of market.

This book is a good reminder that you don't need to be a math genius or even lucky to get rich in the market.

5. "I Will Teach You To Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works"

By Ramit Sethi

The second edition of Ramit Sethi's popular book "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" challenges traditional finance advice.

For example, many experts recommend brewing your coffee at home to save money, but not Sethi. In fact, he teaches readers to uncover their "rich life" by spending lavishly on things they care about while cutting back on what doesn't matter. 

(I especially liked his script for talking your way out of late fees. That alone could be worth the price of the book.)

6. "Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present"

By Nick Trenton

Overthinking can have devastating effects on your mental health, and this book shows you how to escape your own mental prison. 

You'll learn to identify when you are overthinking and use relaxation techniques. Even those who live a relatively stress-free life could benefit by giving this a read.

7. "The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed and Happiness"

By Morgan Housel

If paying off your mortgage early makes it easier to sleep at night, it's a great decision, even though it might not make sense mathematically.

Making good money choices is equal parts math and psychology. Money expert Morgan Housel explores the psychological side of finance in a clever and non-judgmental way.

8. "Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence"

By Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

This book explores the uncomfortable idea that many of us work ourselves to death. We work 40 hours a week for decades and hope to have 10 quality years of retirement. 

The authors flips that script by challenging you to think: How much of my life am I giving up to drive that expensive car or live in the big house on the hill? When is enough enough?

Steve Adcock is a personal finance expert who blogs about how to achieve financial independence. A former software developer, Steve retired early at the age of 35. Follow him on Twitter @SteveOnSpeed.

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